Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Save our Marine Station!

This week started in a sorry way here on Cumbrae, with the announcement of a massive cut in HEFCE funding. This huge drop in income has derailed the proposed joint management venture between the universities of London and St Andrews, and put us in distinct danger of closure in the next 12 months. As well as directly affecting staff, the closure of the marine station will have a massive impact on the fragile island economy. It is also unclear as to what will happen to the hyperbaric chamber located here, one of only four in Scotland; its loss would represent a worrying and potentially fatal reduction in the national network.

Announcing the removal of funding will also have negatively impacted the chances of bringing in grant funding that may otherwise have supported us. A huge blow after the visit of Danny Alexander last week, to announce £100'000 in coastal communities funding.

The marine station has faced closure before, and fought back; this year we have our biggest ever number of students booked in, and for us its going to be one hell of a year. I know for definite that those students looking forward to their field trips this year will see things they've never seen before, they'll be helped by knowledgeable and friendly staff, and they will leave better biologists because of it; I can tell because I've spent 18 months experiencing it for myself. It's a travesty if it should end here. Students will either have to go to more distant courses at greater expense, or miss out altogether.

I'll keep you all in the loop.

You can show your support and keep up to date with the goings on by joining the facebook group here (I'm not sure who the masked avenger was that set it up, but cheers!).

If you would like to help further, please message me!

In the mean time, or if you don't know what we do, check out some of the snaps I've taken in the last 18 months of living here.

Students enjoying one of the rare sunny days aboard the research vessel Aora

American students from Colgate University carry out a shore survey (RV Actinia in background)

A Glasgow student watches as a net is prepared for a sample tow

Your's truly, showing off the local wildlife

Lesser spotted dogfish in the aquarium

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